The final day of competition at the 7th Youth and 6th Junior Women’s National Boxing Championships in Patiala, Punjab and young emerging pugilists of India were one step away from being crowned “Youth and Junior National Champions”. The sports ground at the Punjab University in Patiala over the course of last six days played host to some scintillating boxing action culminating with the ultimate test in the championship.
The Junior Championship unravelled with the biggest upset of the tournament in the light fly division. Neetu Tokas of Delhi outdid the current Junior World Champion Lalenkawli of Mizoram to claim the biggest victory of her nascent career. Lalenkawli who made history in Antalya, Turkey winning the World Champion title earlier this year failed to retain her National title against the Delhi girl. Tokas a silver medal winner at the 2010 sub-junior nationals had a slender 1 point lead after the opening round. But she stretched the advantage to five points and held to take the yellow metal with a 10:5 win on points. It was a comprehensive victory for the 14 year old.
“This victory means a lot to me and adds to my confidence. I am very happy with my performance,” expressed an elated Neetu after her bout.
In one of the most anticipated clashes of the day Junior World Champion, Nikhath Zareena of Andhra locked horns with silver medal winner at the Junior World Championship, Lal Fakzuali of Mizoram in the light bantam weight class. Both the girls adopted a defensive strategy, not giving each other many chances to score. After three rounds of action scores were knotted at 1 all. In the end though, the champion triumphed on individual judge’s score.
“Both of us knew each other’s game pretty well, therefore I decided to rely more on my defence and score whenever I got the opportunity and my strategy paid off in the end,” stated Zareena.
In the light weight division reigning Junior National Champion Neeraj Bala of Punjab defended her title with little trouble against Shaily Singh of Uttar Pradesh. But Tombiamcha Devi of Manipur ran out of luck when she took on Andhra girl Sattivada Marthamma in the finals of the welter weight section. Tombiamcha had to settle with a silver medal performance with a 2:5 defeat on points.
In the first bout of the Youth Championship, the title clash in the light fly weight division, Sarjubala Devi of Manipur, went on to claim her second consecutive National title with an easy win over J. Deepthi of Andhra Pradesh. The Current World Champion plundered Deepthi with her aggressive style of boxing, never allowing the Andhra girl to get into a rhythm. The 18 year old went on to take the gold with a 17:4 victory. Sarjubala who has now claimed the Youth National and the World title was extremely pleased with her performance and said, “After the world championships it was important for me to win the Youth National title, I performed well throughout the tournament and I am very happy to have won the gold”.
World Champion in the light welter weight division, Minu Basumatary of Assam crushed her opponent Rashmi Adhikari from Uttarakhand in a one-sided affair to win the gold medal.
Pwilao Basumatary stamped her authority in the domestic circuit as she completed a treble. A bronze medallist at the inaugural edition of the Women’s Youth World Championship earlier this year, Pwilao claimed her third consecutive gold at the Youth National Championship. The Assamese boxer, who was up against Priyanka Thakur of Punjab in the feather weight finals, dominated all though the 4 rounds of play finally taking victory with a score of 19:6.
Poonam Singh of Haryana also a bronze medal winner at the World Championships defeated Y Sandyarani of Manipur. The three time gold medallist at the Junior Nationals claimed her first Youth National title with a 10:3 win on points.
The titles in both the events were shared by the Northern States of Haryana and Punjab. Haryana took top honours in the Junior National Championships with three gold medals, one silver and three bronze; whereas Punjab came second with two gold medals and five bronze. In the Youth division Punjab claimed the top prize with two gold medals, two silver and 4 bronze; while Haryana bagged the runners up trophy with three gold medals and two bronze.
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